Home Office Releases Blueprint For Future Immigration Into UK
Experts at leading national law firm Irwin Mitchell Private Wealth are calling for further clarification from the Home Office after it released its highly anticipated immigration white paper for immigration into the UK after Brexit.
The white paper, which was released this afternoon (19 December), proposes levelling the field for EU and non-EU nationals as well as introducing a skills-based system by scrapping the cap on skilled workers and introducing a minimum salary requirement of £30,000 for Tier 2 visas.
In a speech the Home Secretary Sajid Javid said the plans did not outline a “specific target” for reducing migration into the UK, though Prime Minister Theresa May later confirmed during PMQs the government was still committed to the manifesto pledge of immigration being reduced to the “tens of thousands”.
However, immigration experts at Irwin Mitchell Private Wealth say the white paper “creates more questions than it does provide answers”.
Expert Opinion“The Home Office’s promise that this is the biggest immigration shake-up in four decades is a misnomer, and the white paper itself is a disappointing response to the bells and whistles the government has been promising for over a year. They are simply bringing EU nationals in line with non-EU nationals and there will be no preferential treatment.
Removing the cap on skilled workers coming into the UK suggests the Home Office is essentially saying the system for skilled positions will be demand-led, which may be why the Home Secretary is shying away from setting a net migration target.
It does not appear to address the concerns of business, especially in the care and hospitality sectors, on how they will be able to fill low-skilled jobs in sufficient numbers. As it stands these sectors say they will be absolutely crippled by the proposed changes on minimum salaries, and a lighter touch is needed to facilitate the post-Brexit reality for these fields. The extension on Tier 5 temporary workers remaining in the UK for a 12-month period will help, but may be a short-term fix rather than properly planning for the future.
The points-based immigration system has been in place since 2008 and Tier 3 for non-skilled workers has been closed the entire time; it would make sense for the Home Office to consider using this structure to control and manage access to low-skilled jobs once the UK has left the EU.
On the whole, the white paper proposes rather small modifications to the existing system rather than a complete overhaul and creates more questions than it provides answers. We look forward to seeing further clarification from the Home Office.” Philip Barth - Partner